Sunday, June 16, 2013

Erika Chase. Read and Buried (2012)

     Erika Chase. Read and Buried (2012) Lizzie Turner, guiding light of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society, helps solve the murder of Derek Alton, former best-selling author, who’s shot in her living room while trying to follow up on his failed moves the evening before. The complications are Lizzie’s relationship with the police chief Mark Dreyfus, the presence of several women who succumbed to Dreyfus’s smarmy flattery years earlier, and a handful of sketched in back-stories that amount to little more than comic-strip landscapes. Clothes and food figure, as do two cats who have no personality at all: they’re just animated scenery. I trust the Society for the Prevention of Literary Exploitation of Cats takes notice. The feel-good ending, set at a Christmas dinner, includes a baby born to a single mother who’s ditched her abusive boyfriend, hints of a December-December love story, and assorted other too-good-to-be-true stuff. It's written in bite-size chapters, the dialogue is brisk and supposedly Southern, and the characters are comic-strip level, which is all they need to be. Fluff, in other words, well-executed and enjoyable if you’re in the mood for it, which I was. **

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